Policy Documents

Take A Free-Market Walking Tour of Chicago's Loop

Jim Johnston –
April 28, 2004

Welcome to Chicago!

The central business district of Chicago has a very interesting history from many perspectives. Other guides cover much of that history in an admirable way. However, what tends to be left out are the present-day market institutions and the economic history, specifically the free-market history.

Chicago is the scene of some very important institutions that have had a large impact on the world and contain important lessons for the future. The Chicago Board of Trade and the Mercantile Exchange, for example, are where many revolutionary instruments for managing risk were discovered and marketed. The city’s trains, river, and even its stop-and-go lights teach us lessons about economics and politics.

What follows is a walking tour of the “Loop,” basically the downtown of this remarkable city. I have tried my best to be comprehensive. But I may have left out some important places or gotten some of the numbers wrong. You may be familiar with stories and histories I’ve overlooked. If you have any suggestions for inclusion in a later version or if you have any corrections, I hope you will send them to me.

Have a good trip!

Jim Johnston
April 2004